Definition and Uses of Formal Reports

We are going to discuss the definition and uses of formal reports. Formal reports are usually detailed, are informational or analytical, examine a complex problem in some depth, and really heavy on the content organization. The formality of the report is determined by the nature and scope of the subject matter.

Formal reports, like informal reports, help managers to plan, organize, staff, and control. That report helps managers by providing information to make good decisions. You can classify formal reports according to their use as either informational or analytical.


Both informal and formal reports provide information used in the decision-making process. In order to decide which type of report to prepare, you should consider the audience, the complexity of the problem, and the length of the report.

If a report deals with several sub-problems-problems that require separate analysis and whose answers, will help solve the overall problem- and is to be read by the officers, board of directors, or stockholders of a company, it must look and be impressive in every detail of content and appendices.

Examples of informational reports are progress reports of task forces or departmental projects, which state steps accomplished toward a stated goal, and annual reports, which present information on officers, operations, and earnings.

Definition and Uses of Formal Reports


Analytical reports not only present and analyze data but also interpret the data and make recommendations. These reports make recommendations on complex, critical problems.

Examples of analytical reports are suggestion reports, which make suggestions; recommendation reports, which recommend action; justification reports, which state facts and request approval; and feasibility reports, which check into the possibility of making changes. Feasibility reports, the most typical analytical reports, answer such questions as:

Should we computerize our inventory department? Should we have a centralized word processing center? Should we develop a new product? Can we expand our advertising to a new market?

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